Tibetan

The Tantric Buddhism of the Himalayas; its best-known teacher is the Dalai Lama
  • China Asserts Control over Dalai Lama Lineage Paid Member

    According to the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, Mao Zedong, the founder of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), once characterized religion as “poison.” The modern CCP maintains official atheism to this day, but that hasn’t stopped officials from claiming control over the intricacies of Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation. Angered by recent comments by the 14th Dalai Lama, 79, that he might not have a successor, Chinese officials have lashed out at the exiled spiritual leader and reasserted long-standing policies that grant them control over the recognition of reincarnate lamas. More »
  • Against “Common Sense” Buddhism Paid Member

    There’s an old story about a frog. He’s lived all his life in a well, and one day another frog appears at its rim. They get to talking, and the strange frog tells the older one that he’s come from somewhere called the ocean. “I never heard of that. I guess it’s about a quarter the size of my well?” “No. More than that,” answers the other. “OK—a half?” “Much bigger,” the strange frog laughs. “The same size, then?” “No, even bigger,” says the foreign frog. “Alright. This, I got to see,” says the oldster as he clambers out the well and sets out for the ocean. It’s a hard road, but at last he arrives. Unfortunately, when he sees the ocean, the shock is so great that it blows his mind and his head explodes. More »
  • Angry White Buddhists Protest the Dalai Lama Paid Member

    You know that guy. He talks about “tantric yoga” in casual conversation. Maybe he has dreadlocks. Maybe he’s shaved his head. He’s definitely not had a beverage with regular milk in it for years. He’s probably white and affluent. He’s probably been to India. And he probably wears Buddhist prayer beads as jewelry. It’s easy enough to compare this stereotype to the “serious” convert to Buddhism, who, though they too may talk about tantra, sport distinctive hairstyles, or be white and affluent, seem at least to wear their prayer beads as more than just a fashion statement. Yet how easy is it to identify where religious conversion begins and cultural appropriation ends? More »
  • Personal Heaven, Personal Hell Paid Member

    A Sri Lankan monk once told me, “There is no doubt: if you follow the five precepts, you will be happy. You will live a good life.” We were standing outside the Mahabodhi Temple, in Bodh Gaya, India, discussing the Buddhist path for lay followers. At that point in my life, the monk’s words struck me as uncomplicatedly true. I was living in a Buddhist monastery as part of the Antioch Buddhist Studies program and observing the five precepts with such fervency that I wouldn’t borrow my roommate’s flashlight for even a minute without asking first. “What if she comes back to her room and needs her flashlight while you have it?” my teacher asked sensibly. “It’s a way of avoiding unnecessary complications.” The four months I spent in India were undoubtedly the happiest, simplest days of my life. More »
  • A Tibetan Buddhist Nun Blazes a Trail for Other Women to Follow Paid Member

    NEWPORT, Wash. (RNS) At a conference for Western Buddhist teachers some years ago, the Venerable Thubten Chodron and other monastics complained to the Dalai Lama about the difficulties they faced: lack of finances, education, a place to live. At one point the leader of Tibetan Buddhism began to weep. Finally he told the teachers: “Don’t rely on us to do things for you; go out and do things to help yourself. If you run into problems come and tell me.” Those words changed the course of Chodron’s life. The notion of starting a Tibetan Buddhist monastic community in the West was already in the back of her mind. All she needed was permission. More »
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    Alleviating Suffering Paid Member

    It’s three a.m. when the on-call pager goes off, rousing me out of a fitful sleep. By the time I arrive on the geriatric wing to answer the “obstreperous patient” page, the floor is quiet. “We’re fine,” a nurse tells me. “She’s calmed down. We just have to watch for the flying tray.” One busy week later, I still haven’t visited this patient. Often, when I pass her room, I hear her calling out, “Help, help!” Her charts speak of dementia and pain; she’s triggered other “obstreperous patient” calls, and she’s been giving some of the nurses a really hard time. Now one of the palliative-geriatric physicians has asked me to check on her, so I cautiously step into her room, wary of the tray. More »